There. I said it. In a big heading no less.
I’m speaking of course from a skewed perspective because, if you’ve read my earlier post on the game in general, you’ll know I actively avoided lots of No Man’s Sky coverage. So in truth it’s probably not my place to be a condescending wind-up merchant, but I’m saying this anyway because somehow we’re still talking about this utter non-topic several weeks down the line. Also, my blog, I MAKE THE RULES AROUND HERE (please don’t leave).
So, people are disappointed with No Man’s Sky. Really disappointed. Like, to an extent where they’ve interpreted their own disappointment as some sort of personal affront by Sean Murray himself. I’ve watched people I assumed were well rounded and grounded human beings spit half-baked verbal acid in incendiary agreement with each other about how upset the game made them. ‘Fuck that game’, I saw people cawing uncontrollably, desperate to find some basis for their vitriol that isn’t their own vacuous inability to function in the age of the internet. In the age of the media, of the press, of the opinions of others granted astronomical platforms for unfathomable reasons (ahem).
Because ultimately that is the crux this whole thing boils down to. But more on that later.
Firstly, let’s do this bit. I, by some ill-fated aligning of the planets, managed to avoid anything close to such disappointment. Mainly it was because I don’t have the temperament and emotional capacity of an entitled toddler, but also and less argumentatively, it was due to my aforementioned media-coverage ducking.
After the initial E3 reveal and the smattering of follow up, I turned off the No Man’s Sky telly. I was sold. But the key thing here is; I wasn’t sold, as everyone else seems to have been, on some sort of magical elixir game that would enrich my life and make me better in bed. A game that I’d be able to play in perpetuity until I died because it was eyeball-meltingly rich and impossible and beautiful. A game that would be Elite: Dangerous in the skies and Mass Effect on the ground with Call of Duty polish. What I was sold on, was an ambitious indie developer, who’d put together a hugely complex, procedurally generated universe, and the main hook, the killer chorus, was that you could ambiently fly out of the atmosphere between planets. Childhood dreams come true. And that was all.
Kotick’s Audi R8
Personally, beyond that, I didn’t really care if it didn’t gleam like Bob Kotick’s Audi R8, if it didn’t contain Rockstar’s painstaking attention to detail, because that was never on the table. I wasn’t bothered if it didn’t provide enough variety to keep me playing forever, I don’t buy a game expecting to never want to play another one, and don’t understand why you’d even want that? Are new games a chore? What was offered up on stage right from the off was the experience of what this small, 16-PERSON INDIE team has achieved; something totally new.
If you didn’t hear that, if you didn’t do enough research to understand what this game was, then that is your own fault. Not Hello Games’ or Sean Murray’s, or Sony’s or Valve’s, or whoever else you tried to blame. You.
Making a game is difficult. Really difficult. Making a good, sleek, polished game is basically impossible as far as I’m concerned. Moreover, a game such as this one is the result of a creative endeavour; a strive to bring something imagined into the real world. It is a tumultuous process that consumes a person from end to end, as said group of people pour themselves into a finished THING. It sometimes makes me cringe to see people so aghast at someone’s work in this way. A game made by a handful of people, a tiny studio, is going to be limited, especially one so vast, so ambitious – no matter how much marketing you put behind it, no matter how infinitely Sony begin suddenly spuffing into your advertising budget. You are a victim of your own naivety, a gullible, exploitable marketing pawn, if you bought and felt so wronged by No Man’s Sky.
A Difficult Place
I’m exaggerating of course, you’re alright. Wrong. But alright. So back to my initial comment. The Internet is a difficult place. As in life, you will be told all sorts of mistruths and lies and dubious things, be exposed in illicit ways to a variety of things you should keep well away from. You will receive emails offering you residency as a king or queen of a small island just off the coast of Lowestoft, you will be told you have won millions of pounds in the Ugandan lottery. You need to know which bits to believe. To be able to tell which bits to take with a pinch of salt; to separate the truth from the fiction from the sales pitch.
Because yes, No Man’s Sky promised us lots it did not deliver on, and that is a problem. Sadly, this is a time of show reels and demos and promises so far from the finished product that often the two are totally unrecognizable. It is, without doubt, something the industry needs to address. But it’s your job, as a switched on member of this community, to be smart about it. If you’re going to take press hype at face value, believe all the marketing and advertising you’re fed (and you’re fed it for a reason, obviously); perhaps you should wait for reviews? Maybe we should all wait for reviews. For me, Hello Games delivered on the game I was shown initially, which is obviously a game that is far from perfect.
You people must have had a brain haemorrhage when you bought a PS3 on the basis that ‘It Only Does Everything’.